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Big History - human origins 1
Transcript of Big History - human origins 1
The sixth threshold
a(nother) new kind of life
a unique (?) kind of life
the 'symbolic species'
'Otzi' the iceman
Anatomically modern human from NE Africa
at the start, a fairly unremarkable ape
Why does this matter?
Our ancestors were not identical to chimpanzees (chimps evolving).
Our ancestors became bipedal very early (chimps & gorillas became quadrupedal).
Early evidence that social & reproductive life not like other apes (themselves diverse).
Last common ancestor
Had a new threshold been crossed yet?
But was there something distinctive about this ape?
Bipedal (does this affect its niche?)
Decreased sexual competition OR new forms of competition? (emotional modernity?)
Highly conservative but more advanced tool use. (later)
Homo ergaster/Homo erectus
the 'invasive ape'
increasingly invasive & adaptable
developing a 'cultural kit'
How is this happening?
releasing constraint (energy, diet)
gaining advantage (what's pay-off?)
DNA passed on
typical model of evolution through natural selection
evolution with natural selection & niche change
(also cultural inheritance)
Not just logic from bigger brain, but greater self control.
Human patterns of food sharing, co-parenting, social life & teamwork.
Essential for learning, cooperation, strategy, & rapid reproduction.
children competing for attention in group
great ape abilities, distinctive generalized capacities, increasing neurological resources.
hyper-sociability, diverse environment & growing niche construction.
constraints removed & increasing payoff for cognitive abilities.
collective & cumulative learning, new forms of thought & memory (David will discuss).
Thanks for your attention!
Anth 151: Human evolution & diversity